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Publisher's Summary

George MacDonald Fraser beloved for his series of Flashman historical novels offers an action-packed memoir of his experiences in Burma during World War II. Fraser was only 19 when he arrived there in the wars final year, and he offers a first-hand glimpse at the camaraderie, danger, and satisfactions of service. A substantial Epilogue, occasioned by the 50th anniversary of VJ-Day in 1995, adds poignancy to a volume that eminent military historian John Keegan described as one of the great personal memoirs of the Second World War.
©2007 George MacDonald Fraser; (P)2010 Random House

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall

Accents

GMF is one of my all time favourites, but I am not sure about the reader. GMF was Anglo-Scottish so why have a very upper class English drawl for the reading? Especially as he has to do the Cumbrian voices, which are so much of the magic of the book. I'm not sure if they are authentic,not being a Cumbrian but frequently they end up sounding like North country Daleks, which I suspect is not quite right!

But get past this, and the book itself is a wonder - Frasers unsentimental vivid ability to put you in the events with him is extraordinary, as is his ability to evoke characters and make the reader empathise with his pride in his comrades. And then there are the desperately moving or very funny set pieces - the scenes where the section share out the kit of a comrade killed in action, the looting of the air drop, and best of all GMF's speculating about what the section would have done if they'd been given the option of dropping the bomb or not, which truly raises the hairs on the back of your neck. And most of all the dialogue.

It pains me as a Flashman fan to say this, but this is the best GMF ever did.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 09-14-17

Absorbing

When I was looking for some sailing stories of the Napoleonic era, I came across the Flashman books. I noted the author, George MacDonald Fraser (1925-2008), had written his memoir about World War II. I decided to get the book.

The book deals with his time in Burma. He served with a platoon of British Soldiers from Cumberland. He used their accent in the book. The Cumberland Dialect is unlike modern English but Fraser provided a translation and glossary to help the reader.
The book is well written. Fraser covers what it was like to be a British soldier in Burma from the boredom of waiting to the horrors of the close quarter jungle fighting. He also provided a brief history of the war in Burma. He was a young man and this was before he became a writer, but his talent comes through as does his superb storytelling ability. After reading this book the reader has a good idea what it was like to fight in the jungle.

The book is eight hours long. David Case (1932-2005) did an excellent job narrating the book. He did great with the Cumberland accent and gently interpreting for the reader. Case was an English actor and multi-award-winning audiobook narrator. Case was the narrator of the Flashman Series. He was one of the pioneering narrators of audiobooks and had a great British accent and voice.




5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic story bolstered by a superb performance.

Mr. Fraser's narrative of his time in the British Army during the Burma campaign of WWII successfully framed the wartime for the rank and file soldier. The reader is brought into the relationships he had with his fellow brothers in arms, his leaders, and the demands on the mind and body that accompany such extraordinary circumstances. Mr. Case enhances the listener's experience by associating the nuances of British language and culture described by the author in a way that makes the characters unique and matches the tempo of his speech to the events unfolding in the storyline. I found myself being drawn into the performance and into the mind of the author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good read

I found this book to be captivating, and a different look at less talked about aspects of WWII. a really good read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful

Superbly written memoir of combat and British army life in Burma and I do love this narrator's style that fits this so well. (he does a great narration of Orwell too)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Gritty and Humorous!

This intellectual—boots on the ground—account of WWII British infantry combines both the boring and the bold into a sardonic account of combat soldier reality.
George MacDonald Fraser and narrator David Case again provide the listener a taste of humor and history.

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Audio file is missing a fair piece of the story

This may be George MacDonald Fraser's finest book, and David Case's performance is excellent. Unfortunately, there's a sizable omission of content around 2:07:30 in that skips over what in the print or kindle versions would have been around 40 pages. The audio version mentions a new cassette at that point; it sounds like a cassette tape was overlooked during the transfer to a digital format. It's a shame, since this omission includes one of the more harrowing battles of the book.

  • Overall

Great story and narrator

I've listened to the book at least half a dozen times and I always enjoy it.

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Review from a civilian who's opinion doesn't matter.

In my unimportant opinion, it does a great
Job of showing the frontline jabber etc of men of the line. I have zero military experience so wouldn't know for sure. I began to love each character though and lament their hardships. I laughed quite a bit at their hilarious sayings and jokes.
Not a ton of action, again I'm superficial probably, but recollections of battles were very cool. Thank you to the author and the men who served.

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The Narrator Makes This Performance Memorable

Any additional comments?

Fraser is an author who deserves your attention. This is one of the best WW2 diary accounts I've read or listened to. Written 40 years after the events he writes about, Fraser is honest, balanced and humorous at appropriate times. He carries you into the Burmese fighting along with his 14th Army section and informs you about his thoughts and motivations while providing rationale sharpened by nearly 40 years of honest introspection. This one deserves to be in your Audible bookshelf whether or not you are interested in the amazing history of the 20th Century's defining conflict. And the narrator makes this come alive with his varied accents & verbal virtuosity. Two thumbs way up.